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G-8 Deadline Rebuffed as Iran's Enrichment Continues

Iran has been given a July 12 deadline to cease their enrichment activities according to unnamed diplomats. Ahmadinejad has previously said that Iran will not respond to the current proposal until mid-August, which calls for the cessation of Iranian enrichment activities in exchange for Western nuclear reactors, fuel and lifts on US sanctions. After the July 12 deadline passes, presumably the door would open for UN Security Council action, potentially including sanctions. But Russia and China, permanent members of the UNSC with veto power, remain adamantly opposed to any sanctions.

Chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani called enrichment cessation “unreasonable.” Further telegraphing Iran’s position, suspension was forthrightly declared to be ‘not on Iran’s agenda’, according to Ali Hosseinitash, who is in charge of strategic affairs in Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. Said Hosseinitash, “Suspension is definitely not on Iran’s agenda. Iran does not see the issue of suspension as the core idea in solving the case.” Once again the point of disconnect between Iran and the West, suspension of enrichment activities is clearly the ‘core idea in solving the case’ as far as the West is concerned.

Iran’s refusal to respond is clearly being viewed as a response, as with each day the proposal goes unaddressed, Iran’s enrichment continues unabated. Iran’s public ‘indecision’ is itself clearly a decision and being treated as such.

The extent to which the new Strategic Council for Foreign Relations is working back channels during this process may be an interesting detail to learn, as the new council looks to undermine Ahmadinejad and his brash approach to foreign affairs. Many, however, prefer Ahmadinejad’s clarity and straight-forward nature over the nuanced diplomatic maneuvering by ‘seasoned diplomats’ of the principal state sponsor of terrorism.

Increasingly of late, the Iranian nuclear crisis is being placed within its proper context of a subset of Iran’s role as the chief facilitator, organizer, armorer and financier of terrorism worldwide. As the United States renews allegations of the Iranian participation in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing and word of Iranians captured fighting coalition forces in Iraq is made public (which is not a new phenomenon), what is of more concern than even the nuclear weapons themselves is the nature of the regime which would possess them. As Michael Ledeen said succinctly in his latest column, “It’s the terrorism, stupid.”